The ratings for the Democratic National Convention for ABC, CBS and NBC fell by a million viewers compared to the opener for the 2004 convention with headliner Bill Clinton TVWeek is reporting. On the other hand, the cable newsers saw a ratings jump from their 2004 convention ratings. This reveals the further decline in the old paradigm with the big three networks steadily losing their news influence bit by bit to cable outlets.
ABC, CBS and NBC brought in 12.1 million viewers in the 10 p.m. hour, down one million from 2004, according to preliminary, fast-national data from Nielsen Media Research. NBC scored the largest audience.
But the cable news networks saw some pretty impressive gains in ratings for the DNC opening.
According to Nielsen data, CNN was the biggest draw of the night with an average of 3.7 million viewers, up 85% from its July 26, 2004, opening night audience. Fox News Channel, usually the most-watched news network, averaged slightly more than 3 million viewers for the night, up 84% from 2004. MSNBC scored an average of slightly more than 2.1 million viewers, up 88% from opening night 2004.
The big three each gave the convention a one hour coverage while the cable stations went wall-to-wall. So, the one hour coverage could have hurt their viewership since the cable stations dedicated much more time to it.
But, the decision to go only one hour was itself a recognition that the big three simply hadn't the standing to dedicate more time to such coverage.
Just one more small nail in the coffin of the big three net's news departments. It seems that the big three could be on track to eventually cut their news departments to the bone.